New Shared Parental Leave Scheme Coming

Expecting a child can be a very exciting time for parents.

But planning for the arrival of the child and making provisions can also be very stressful. Deciding on a suitable name is often hard enough, but harder still is planning child care and how this will work around already busy lives.

Sharing Maternity Leave

Changes coming into place on 1 December 2014 will affect parental leave.

Parents planning for, or expecting a baby on or after 5 April 2015 should take these changes into consideration.

The Children and Families Act 2014 introduces a new ‘shared parental leave’ scheme, which in essence allows parents to share the statutory maternity leave and pay currently available only to mothers.

Core Rules Remain Unchanged

The core rules and entitlements regarding maternity and paternity leave remain mostly unchanged.

The current entitlement of 52 weeks maternity leave (with 39 weeks of them being paid) remains unchanged and will be the default position for all female employees and their employers.

The two weeks compulsory maternity leave and two weeks paid paternity leave also remain unchanged.

Benefits of the new scheme

However, the new scheme allows parents to split 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay (everything other than the compulsory 2 weeks maternity leave) between them.

The mother will need to notify her employer that she wishes to end her maternity leave and start the shared leave scheme.

Both parents will also need to give their respective employers 8 weeks’ notice before beginning the scheme.

Both parents must give their expected pattern of leave to their respective employers (this pattern will not be binding) when notifying them of their wish to take shared parental leave.

However, employers are not obliged to agree to the proposed pattern of leave.

These changes to the law will allow parents to provide much needed - if slightly sleep deprived – support to one another in the first months of their baby’s life. This will be beneficial to them and the new member of their family.

What do you think?

Are you expecting a new baby? If this scheme might be something you’d consider, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, below.

What about small business owners and the impact this new scheme may have on your business? We’d love to hear your thoughts too.

This article is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute technical, financial, legal advice or any other type of professional advice and is no substitute for specific advice based on your individual circumstances. We do not accept responsibility or liability for any actions taken based on the information in this article. For more information, please click here.